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Teacher unions calls for negotiation not disruption as Grade 7s return to school

11 August 2020 10:04 AM

Professional Educators' Union's Ben Machipi says schools must not be disrupted but is awaiting a meeting with the DBE.

Grade 7s return to class on Tuesday despite some School Governing Bodies and the Congress of South African Students (Cosas) called for schools to be shut.

On Monday, the Department of Basic Education issued a warning to those thinking of disrupting classes.

Refilwe Moloto talks to Ben Machipi who represents the Professional Educators Union, one of the bodies that have been told by the department to see that their members toe the line.

As unions, we are creatures of legislation and we believe in negotiations and will negotiate through and through.

Ben Machipi, General Secretary - Professional Educators Union

Machipi says the Department of Basic Education has demonstrated what he calls 'inertia'.

Since the announcement that schools will be closing...We do not want a holiday. We want to work on the challenges that we see that we have got solutions on that - but believe you me, nothing is happening.

Ben Machipi, General Secretary - Professional Educators Union

RELATED: DBE revises school calendar again - gives schools time to focus on reading, maths, and language this year.

He says the union requested a meeting with the DBE minister to unpack the announcement made by the President.

But schools across the board are implementing the standard operating procedures and practices differently, he notes.

Water remains a very important tool in the fight against this virus and many schools did not have water.

Ben Machipi, General Secretary - Professional Educators Union

He says he is aware that teachers and pupils are testing Covid-19 positive but still believes negotiation is the key to finding a way through this.

He says the five recognised teachers unions in the country have not spoken out with a unified position on the disruption of schools.

But Cosas as an independent body of students, and SGBs are also independent bodies. They have there own reasons why they are disrupting schools.

Ben Machipi, General Secretary - Professional Educators Union

He says as teacher unions they do not share this approach and will continue negotiating with the department, though no date for a meeting has been set.

We wonder what is the problem because we are waiting for them to come up with the terms of reference of the task team between the department and teacher unions.

Ben Machipi, General Secretary - Professional Educators Union

Listen to the interview below:


11 August 2020 10:04 AM

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